Govt changes cannabis production policy

Caroline Chiimba

THE government, through the Health ministry, has offered all local and foreign investors venturing into cannabis production a 100 percent ownership of their farms and licences to improve competitiveness.

This comes as the government is changing the policy that governs the investment and production of medicinal cannabis in the country and allowing the industrial production of hemp for the export market, medical purposes and in the production of fuel.
In a letter addressed to cannabis licencees, Health minister Obadiah Moyo announced a change in the policy that governs the investment and production of medicinal cannabis in the country, adding that investors also have the option to utilise private land for the cannabis project.
“Following Cabinet decision and a high-level meeting; a policy change enabling investors to hold 100 percent ownership of medicinal cannabis licences was made in order to improve the competitiveness of the sector both regionally and globally,” Moyo said in the letter.
“In order to regularise the policy changes, a draft Investment Stabilisation Agreement is being reviewed by the Attorney-General’s Office. The finalisation has been delayed somewhat due to the focus in the fight in controlling the global Covid-19 pandemic.”
Moyo added that having noted the need for pragmatism in this matter; Alternative Health OJs (AHO), a government company which is being administratively managed by the Health ministry, will initiate the termination Of Joint Venture Agreements, ceding 40 percent ownership and resignation of AHO directors from the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) with immediate effect.
“On completion of the processes amendment of the licence would be required. If the original site is changed; compliance with the licensing requirements such as security arrangements is required as well as satisfactory inspection by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Last year, it announced that 37 local and private investors had shown interest in cannabis farming.
However, the recreational use or possession of the drug remains illegal.The National Assembly and Senate will sit in turns starting from today to ensure social distancing amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

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